Now, Book an Uber to the Cinema via BookMyShow

Now, Book an Uber to the Cinema via BookMyShow

Uber India has announced its API integration with online entertainment booking portal BookMyShow, which will enable movie goers to book an Uber when they buy their tickets on the BookMyShow mobile app.

The user will either get an option to ‘Ride Now’ or to set a reminder to book a ride on Uber, depending upon the time of the show. The API integration will go live for Android users on Monday, Uber said, though the features is not live at the time of filing.

Commenting on India’s startups and developers who have leveraged Uber’s API, Saad Ahmed, Business Development Lead, Uber India said that its integration with Zomato and Practo in the restaurant booking and healthcare space formed the beachhead of its API partnership program.

Uber had launched its trip experiences API in Bengaluru in January 2016, and some of the other players to integrate its API in India include real estate aggregator, movie chain Satyam Cinemas, and nightlife aggregator Happitoo. E-commerce platform Snapdeal is reportedly exploring a taxi integration with Uber, though both the companies have refused to comment on the rumoured development.

“We made a conscious decision to launch our Trip Experiences API first in India, at one of our first hackathons in Asia. We’ve seen considerable interest from startups both big and small who are already using our API, we’re in conversation with a few larger players as well,” Ahmed said, speaking to Gadgets 360. He didn’t specify any numbers in terms of bookings facilitated by the developer ecosystem, but added that Uber India is working with players both large and small, and is receiving a lot of interest from developer ecosystem.

Some global examples of Uber’s API integration showcased on its developer showcase include public transit app Transit, online travel aggregator Tripadvisor, and Uber’s integration with Microsoft Outlook.

Bihar Police to Use WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook

Bihar Police to Use WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook

To keep pace with changing technology, the Bihar Police has decided to to use WhatsApp, e-mail, Twitter, andFacebook in order to share information among its officers. For this, state police headquarters have decided to provide its officers android smartphones in order to have better coordination and sharing of information and documents among them.

“All the police officials – right from Station House Officers (SHOs) to DGP – will be given Android smartphones for better and efficient state-level coordination. The use of smartphones will instantly connect all the officers right from police station level to state-level,” Inspector-General (Provisions) Pankaj Darad said.

Stating that the distribution process has started, Darad said that of 1,390 smartphones that the police headquarters have purchased at a price of Rs. 15,000 per handset, 940 sets would be given to SHOs of the state besides the senior officials like DySPs, SPs, DIGs, IGs, ADGs and DGP.

The decision of the government to provide smartphones to its officials will cost Rs 2.08 crore.

The police, at present, use two-way wireless radios (walkie-talkies) that officers use, apart from cellphones, to receive and send information.

Once the smartphones are distributed, all the officers will have to download WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter on the department’s phones so that they can communicate with colleagues and take orders from seniors instantly, Darad added.

Talking about the purpose of providing smartphones to its officials, IG (Provisions) said “the idea is to have better state-level coordination among the officials right from police station level to state levels.”

“The move would help connect all the police officials with each other, thus receiving and sending messages would become quick and instant.”

SPs, DIGs, IGs would form their separate groups, he said, adding that the decision would cut time in giving orders and instructions which, hitherto, are being sent through letters. These officials would keep a tab or monitor the information being shared on WhatsApp, e-mail, Facebook, and other social media. It would help field officials in receiving instant directives from seniors while carrying out investigation.

Besides, they would let their senior officials know about the prevailing law and order situation in a particular area, the IG said.

Darad said now field officers would not be able to make excuses when asked for any information, official document or report of any investigation.

Even common people would be able to send their grievances, videos, messages etc through WhatsApp, he added.

IG (Provisions) said the home department had cleared the police headquarters’ proposal to buy Android smartphones just before the announcement of Assembly elections last year but the process was delayed due to elections and later due to the tendering process.

Only one company responded to the tender floated by the police headquarters to buy smartphones, he said, adding the process was re-tendered after which the successful bidder supplied the smartphones very recently to police headquarters.

Now, Non-US Citizens Can Book an Airbnb in Cuba

Now, Non-US Citizens Can Book an Airbnb in Cuba

Ahead of President Barack Obama’s landmark trip to Cuba, the US government has given Airbnb the green light to accept bookings in Cuba from non-American customers.

The San Francisco company’s website said Sunday it had received a license from the US Treasury to “welcome guests from around the world to stay one of their 4,000 listings in Cuba.”

The move, announced hours before Obama’s arrival in Havana, represents the latest effort by his administration to chip away at decades of Cold War-era sanctions.

The Republican-controled Congress has refused to lift an embargo on Cuba, but Obama is betting that a host of incremental and seemingly technical steps will open Cuba’s economy, transforming the communist-controled island economically and politically.

Cuba’s stagnant economy and tightly controled politics have led to a steady flow of illegal migrants making the perilous 90-mile journey across the Strait of Florida.

Obama’s approach is a dramatic U-turn for the US government, which for decades tried to squeeze the Cuban government through sanctions.

“It’s a soft war” said John Kavulich, president US-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, “using visitors as the soldiers, commercial airlines as the air force, and cruise ships as the navy.”

On Saturday Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced it had signed three hotel deals in Cuba, a first for a US hospitality company since the 1959 revolution.

Airbnb began doing business in Cuba a year ago, tapping an already existing tradition of Cubans opening their homes to paying travelers.

Until now, only American customers had been allowed to use the service.

Obama’s visit is the first by a sitting US president since Calvin Coolidge arrived 88 years ago.

Ola Looks to ‘Micro’ Offering to Take on Uber in India

Ola Looks to 'Micro' Offering to Take on Uber in India

Taxi-hailing app Ola expects its newly-launched affordable service ‘Micro’ alone to overtake rival Uber in terms of number of rides in a month’s time.

Engaging in a war of words, the Softbank-backed company claimed that Micro, which is available in seven Indian cities, is on track to match the number of total rides of Uber in India within a month.

“In three weeks, we have put up a category (Ola Micro) which is already 50 percent of all of Uber’s daily bookings in the country. The rate at which Micro is growing, it will be larger than their entire brand within a month,” Ola chief marketing officer and head of categories Raghuvesh Sarup told PTI.

Also, Micro in merely three weeks has achieved the same number of rides what Ola took around three years to achieve, he added.

Ola launched the Micro category a few weeks back, pricing it cheaper than its most affordable ‘Mini’ segment at about Rs. 6 per km.

Micro is available across Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Pune and will be launched in other cities as well, Sarup said.

Interestingly, Uber President Asia Eric Alexander, in an interview, had said the company is on the verge of overtaking Ola in India.

“In January last year, we were at five percent market share. Now, we are right at the edge of 50 percent. Within next 30 days, we would beat them (Ola). We will surpass them very, very shortly,” he had said.

An Uber India spokesperson added that “the growth and momentum is phenomenal. We are incredibly excited to see the progress we are making in India.”

She highlighted that Uber’s most affordable offering UberGO is priced at Rs. 5 per km in several cities like Chandigarh.

Sarup said Ola has achieved a ten-fold growth in the number of rides it performs on a daily basis across categories.

He, however, declined to disclose the number of rides that the Bengaluru-based company completes on a daily basis.

According to sources, Micro already accounts for 20-35 percent of Ola’s own daily booking depending on the city.

“When we design a product, we keep in mind that its achievable and sustainable. It is the most affordable product in the market and it ensures that the driver partners also get more bookings. So, the economics work out,” he added.

Ola claims it holds 75 percent of the Indian app-based taxi-hailing market, with over 3.5 lakh driver partners on its platform across the country.

Asked if the product will compete with its own Mini and autorickshaw categories, Sarup said every segment has a particular use case.

“If you look at Prime, it is targetted at those who want to get work done on the go and there is Wi-Fi made available in the car. Micro, on the other hand, will help us get many first time users who are yet to use our platform,” he said.

Ola’s solutions are ‘Made for India’ and it believes that this country needs hyperlocal, India-specific innovations, he added.

Baxi Bike Taxi App to Now Work Without Internet Connection

Baxi Bike Taxi App to Now Work Without Internet Connection

Gurgaon-based Baxi will roll out a new feature to help users book rides on the app without using Internet.

The bike-taxi hailing app, which offers services in Gurgaon and Faridabad, will make the feature available to its 30,000 users from next week.

“All customers that have an Android smartphone without a data connection can now use the new Baxiapp. Customers can also use the app even when their Internet connection isn’t working,” Baxi co-founder and CTO Manu Rana told PTI.

This feature will help the company reach out to a larger number of customers as they will not have to rely on or spend money on data packs.

Upon opening the app, the user has to press the BOOK button to get the nearest Baxi. If the app is offline, it uses an SMS to send the user’s location and request to its server, find the closest Baxi and respond to the user with that information using SMS.

The app reads the SMS and displays the drivers information and location to the user in the same way as it would do in an online booking.

“With this revolutionary innovation, our app is now the first and only taxi-booking app in the world, let alone bike-taxi booking industry, that functions without a data pack or Internet connection,” he said.

The company, which plans to extend services to Noida and Ghaziabad later this month, offers rides at base fare of Rs. 10, followed by Rs. 4 per km and Re. 1 per minute of ride time charges.

Similar to Ola and Uber, Baxi allows users to get rides but on motorbikes.

The company claims it facilitates about 3,000 rides daily in Gurgaon and Faridabad. It had received about $1.5 million (roughly Rs. 10 crores) funding last year from investors including HT Media, Manish Kheterpal (WaterBridge Ventures), Alok Mittal (Indifi Technologies) and Puneet Dalmia (Managing Director of Dalmia Bharat Group).

The transportation space is witnessing intense competition as the private equity-backed firms are offering discounted rides and investing heavily in getting more drivers on board.

Other players in the bike-taxi segment include startups like N.O.W and Rideji.

Microsoft Working on Tool to Port Chrome Extensions in Edge

Microsoft Working on Tool to Port Chrome Extensions in Edge

Microsoft introduced support for extensions in Microsoft Edge for Windows Insiders in a build that was released last week. As of now, there are only a handful of extensions to play with. But very soon, we may have a plethora of extensions for the company’s Web browser. Microsoft has said that it is working on a tool to port Chrome extensions over to Edge – potentially opening the floodgates for extension makers.

Jacob Rossi, a Microsoft Edge engineer, said on Twitter that the company is working on a porting tool to bring Chrome extensions to Edge. “Lots of questions on this: yes we’re working on a porting tool to run Chrome extensions in Edge.” he tweeted. “Not yet finished and not all APIs supported.” In following up posts on the micro-blogging website, Rossing said that the company is carefully selecting extensions to bring to the Microsoft Edge Store currently.

Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14291 to Insiders on the fast ring last week. The new Windows 10 build offers users with the ability to install extensions on their Web browser. At the time, the company had only three Edge extensions to show: Microsoft Translator, Reddit Enhancement Suite, and Mouse Gestures. Over the weekend, a new extension called ‘Turn off the Lights’ became available for users. A user can utilise this extension to turn the background dark when watching a video for a better entertainment experience.

As for users who want to try Microsoft Edge extensions on their phone, Rossi noted that Microsoft Edge for Windows 10 Mobile could also get this functionality some day. Responding to a user’s query about this, Rossi wrote, “[We’re] focusing on desktop first, but it’s [extensions for mobile] not out of the question.”

Airbus’ BizLab Selects 3 Indian Tech Startups to Mentor

Airbus' BizLab Selects 3 Indian Tech Startups to Mentor

Aerospace major Airbus’ arm BizLab on Thursday announced selecting three Indian startups here for mentoring in projects they submitted for its six-month acceleration programme.

“The startups will interact with our experts in technology, legal, finance and marketing domains for mentoring,” the company said in a statement here.

The Indian startups are Blue Morfo, Shoonya Games and Open Turf, while a fourth startup, also selected from 80 applicants in seven countries, is US-based Qualitas.

Blue Morfo is developing a mobile app to detect and prevent specific corporate health related issues, like exposure of airline crew to jetlag and cabin pressurisation, Shoonya has proposed interactive gaming solutions for training and marketing using virtual reality and 3D technologies embedded in a mobile device while Open Turf’s project is to provide wireless in-flight entertainment, using the passenger’s personal devices.

Qualitas offers automated quality inspection systems for manufacturing, specialising in 2D and 3D machine vision.

The Paris-based consortium also selected six European startups at Germany’s Hamburg from 100 applicants in 29 countries for the accelerator programme.

The European startups are Jetlite, Synergeticon and Teraki from Germany, ZinkCloud and Nebaqua from Spain and Velmenni from Estonia.

“The startups will be offered office space and access to prototyping and test facilities, besides a dedicated demo day with Airbus decision-makers, partners, subsidiaries, customers and venture capital,” said the statement.

BizLab is a global aerospace business accelerator where startups and Airbus ‘intrapreneurs’ (internal entrepreneurs) work jointly to transform their innovative ideas into valuable businesses, it said.

Disney Magic Kingdoms Arrives on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone

Disney Magic Kingdoms Arrives on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone

Announced at the 2015 D23 Expo, Disney Magic Kingdoms – a collaboration between mobile game publisher Gameloft and Disney Interactive – is now available on Android, iOS, and Windows Phonedevices.

“Disney Magic Kingdoms will allow players to build the theme park of their dreams by recreating and placing iconic attractions in a fun animated landscape,” the company stated back in August. “With influence from the Disneyland Resort in California, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Paris and more, the game reimagines Disney Parks for mobile, letting fans experience an authentic and magical experience anytime, anywhere.”

Walt Disney has afforded Gameloft its huge roster of famous characters for the game in a bid to attract children of all ages and likes. Apart from the standard Mickey Mouse and Cinderella, players can also get access to Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, Mike Wazowski from the Monsters franchise, and others. You will face foes such as Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent, Tangled’s Mother Gothel and Toy Story’s Emperor Zurg in your quest “to rid the kingdom of evil”, Disney said.

“Disney Magic Kingdoms is a triumph in both beautiful visuals and authentically inspired design that showcases everything beloved about the Disney Parks.” Gonzague de Vallois, senior VP of publishing at Gameloft, said in a statement. “We are delighted to provide Disney fans a new way to explore the Parks and interact with Disney characters and villains in a game which ties together 90 exceptional years of Disney in an adventure that takes us back to where it all began.”

As with all Gameloft games, there are microtransactions in Disney Magic Kingdoms. You can buy gems to speed up your in-game progress with the help of in-app purchases, ranging from Rs. 10 to Rs. 6,200 per item.

The Original Rayman Is Now Also on Android

The Original Rayman Is Now Also on Android

The original Rayman, a side-scrolling platformer that first hit the Atari Jaguar back in 1995, and re-released for iOS devices last month, has now made its way onto Android devices.

Ported to mobile devices by Ubisoft Mobile Games, based in the eastern suburbs of Paris, and titled ‘Rayman Classic’, the game has been re-released to celebrating the 20th anniversary of the original. The company said it’s the first time the original Rayman is coming to mobile, which might confuse some as other Rayman games have existed on iOS and Android for a while now.

Unlike those games which were not only exclusively developed for the mobile generation, but they also opted for the endless running approach made popular by Subway Surfers and the like. Rayman Jungle Run and Rayman Feista Run, two such games, also feature micro-transactions.

On the other hand, Rayman Classic falls under the buy once and play category. And in line with its pricing on the App Store, it will cost Rs. 300 for Android users too. Equivalent pricing hasn’t always worked for developers, which is why Toronto-based studio Snowman – who built snowboarding mobile game Alto’s Adventure – worked with Saskatoon, Canada-based venture Noodlecake Studios to adapt their game for the Android audience.

It remains to be seen how Rayman Classic does on Android, but the original Rayman proved quite successful for its developer, and to date remains the top-selling game for the original PlayStation in the United Kingdom. If you’ve been missing a fix of the limbless hero, you can head to the Google Play Store.

BlackBerry ‘Extremely Disappointed’ With WhatsApp Decision to Ditch Its Platform

BlackBerry 'Extremely Disappointed' With WhatsApp Decision to Ditch Its Platform

BlackBerry says it is extremely disappointed with WhatsApp’s decision to abandon its platform. The Canadian technology company says that it is still committed to finding alternatives to the Facebook-owned instant messaging client.

In a blog post, Lou Gazzola, Lead App Ecosystem and Developer Outreach team, noted that his company “fought back” to work with WhatsApp and Facebook to “change their minds,” however, WhatsApp remains committed to its original announcement. “The app landscape continues to evolve, and in ways that are not always within our control,” Gazzola wrote. “We are extremely disappointed in their decision as we know so many users love these apps.”

WhatsApp announced last month that it was dropping support for a number of platforms including BB10 OS, Windows Phone 7.1, and Android 2.2 or below. The company said that these operating systems weren’t offering the “kind of capabilities” WhatsApp needs to expand its app’s features in the future.

BlackBerry is currently searching for alternate solution to WhatsApp, and recently pointed its user to the cross-platform messaging client – BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). The company says it is showcasing the best apps by its developers. The announcement follows Blackberry’s earlier posts on Twitter, in which it encouraged users to give a shot to BlackBerry Messenger.

BlackBerry is in a very tough spot right now. The market capture of its BB10 OS has fallen below 1 percent. While the company has all the motives to continue to support its existing user base, it cannot incentivise companies and app developers to either bring or continue to support their existing apps on the platform.